As we know, the tension between Ukraine and Russia has reached its peak. The conflict has made some footballers speak about the tension between two neighboring nations. Russia started a large-scale attack on its western neighbor with a military convoy entering Ukrainian soil. Also, the explosion across the nation made it clear that things look more serious than expected.
Furthermore, many from the football community called for solidarity against the tension. High-profile Ukrainian football stars such as former Ballon d’Or winner Andriy Shevcheneko and Manchester City midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko posted emotional pleas for the defense of their country. Likewise, Russian veteran Fyodor Smolov tweeted ”No war!” on social media.
Meanwhile, Ruslan Maliovskyi from Italian club Atalanta revealed a shirt which read ”No war in Ukraine” upon scoring against Olympiacos in the Europa League. Similarly, a former Roma boss described the conflict as ”an unacceptable war”. However, Germany international footballer Markus Babbel went way ahead in criticizing Putin, branding him ”a f*cking d*ckhead”.
Also, a number of Brazilian players who play in Ukraine released a video pleading for help from their government. They uploaded a photo which read “We’re staying at this hotel, in light of the current situation, and we’re asking you for help. There’s a fuel shortage in the city, borders are closed, air space is closed, we can’t leave. “We’re asking for help from the Brazilian government, we hope you can help by sharing this video and reaching as many people as possible.”
Football Clubs’ Response
The Russian-Ukraine conflict also affected the commercial part of football. For instance, Manchester United withdrew its sponsor from Russian Airline Aeroloft. Likewise, German club Schalke decided to remove the lettering of Gazprom-the Russian-state-owned energy company.
Similarly, UEFA received pressure from cutting ties with Gazprom, which is a major sponsor of UEFA. Furthermore, Barcelona and Napoli showcased a post that read ”No War” before the Europa League match.